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  • Writer's pictureThe Scoffers

Bar Bombay Yacht Club

I love those experiences where you stumble upon a venue by accident presenting quite a surprise and you find a space you feel like a must return visit. Bar Bombay Yacht Club in Melbourne's Flinders Lane is another offer from chef Jessi Singh. It opened in Flinders Lane at the beginning of April, a location which continues to flourish with new openings including the Melbourne edition of the New Zealand owned Botswana Butchery chain.

We came to the space looking for a place to have a drink, and were delighted with a clever and considered wine list side by side with modern Indian food thriving on imagination and a venue fit for a Rajah.

The fit out is opulent yet cosy. Swathes of rich turquoise, greens, gold and a chunky black and white stone bar dominating the central space. High ceilings give away the building's industrial bones, with exposed concrete, pipes and aircon outlets.

The menu is clever, and takes you on a journey through the subcontinent. I can never ignore a dish called Balls of Happiness, which is how we started after choosing a Gruner Veltliner by the glass, an Albariño and a Nero d'Avola for the Italian wine lover. A shame we had the last of the Gruner, given the savoury celery and white pepper notes would have paired beautifully with this food. Back to the balls - we wont spoil the surprise but the crispy ball doesn't even hint what it contains, but rest assured its a flavour explosion and the palate will be alive and ready for what follows. I'd suggest at least one per person would be ideal, a cheeky two would be a better suggestion.

We ordered a selection of other small dishes including a butter chicken parfait with fenugreek roti and a mapo tofu vindaloo eaten in lettuce cups - melding traditional Indian, with cantonese tofu and the lettuce cups of a san choi bao, topped with some puffed rice. We did say it was clever and modern right? The parfait was a ripper - a jar of chicken liver parfait with the mild sweetness and curry notes of butter chicken, sitting well with the butter in the parfait. Both were throughly enjoyable plates of food.

Next up - and not to stick with a theme or anything, but we enjoyed an actual butter chicken, with the same mix of sweet, mildly spicy and utterly buttery sauce, as well as an Aunty Dahl. The dahl was super rich, lovely and fragrant with a load of Roti, although we did decide a couple of Naans would be worth it to mop up.

The portions were generous enough for 3 of us - and we were all hungry, and the service while at times was perfunctory, was good enough to encourage us to return for a second visit.

This space has had a few lives, let's hope this one stays around long enough for us to enjoy it again. A final note about service - we all have phones with us but when you see all the staff on theirs while punters are trying to get their attention, then perhaps there needs to be a policy about how they are used. It's not the best look and detracts from our enjoyment.

Bar Bombay Yacht Club is at 88 Flinders Lane

Open Tues - Saturday for dinner from 4.30, with lunch services Thursday and Friday from 12.

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